Centre for Policy Alternatives on 2 August, 2016

Looking Back: The 2007 eviction of Tamil citizens from Colombo

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On the night of June 7th 2007, some 300 Tamil civilians were evicted from their homes across the Colombo district and taken by police escort to Vavuniya in the Northern province. This was carried out supposedly in the interest of ‘national security’ and was a violation of fundamental human rights that CPA promptly challenged. The landmark case brought an interim order to stop the evictions and for those evicted to be brought back to their homes. The case was monumental in showing minorities that they had methods of redress and that state actors couldn’t act with complete impunity.

Last week marked the 23rd of July 1983, a recurring reminder of the disastrous events that contributed to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. The two incidents were so close in nature and therefore the 2007 evictions reminded many of the events of 1983 and acted as a reminder of the systemic discrimination suffered by Tamils in Sri Lanka.

The case serves as lesson to the people as well as a landmark for the legal community, indicating that state actors can in fact be held accountable for injustices carried out against citizens.